Flaggs: Washington, D.C. trip successful for Vicksburg

Published 2:38 pm Friday, April 21, 2023

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. is calling his recent three-day trip to Washington, D.C. a successful experience, saying he was able to accomplish several goals during the visit.

Flaggs was in Washington for the African American Mayors Annual Conference, meeting with other municipal officials to discuss the problems facing city governments. He also took time to meet with Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and other members of the state’s congressional delegation, and discuss the potential of passenger rail service for Vicksburg.

“I had two things to do, and I think I accomplished both,” Flaggs said. “One, I had to go to the Transportation for America meeting. That’s the group that is trying to get the congressional leadership to write letters of intent, the grant and support letters.”

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Vicksburg is partnering with the Louisiana cities of Monroe, Shreveport and Ruston to bring the rail service from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area along the Interstate corridor to Meridian.

The cities have contracted with Baton Rouge, La.-based consultant CSRS to prepare the application for a Federal-State Intercity Passenger Rail Program grant. Flaggs said the mayors of Shreveport, Ruston and Monroe also attended the meeting.

Flaggs said he also had a very productive meeting with Wicker “and a great discussion with the congressional delegation” on rail and other issues.

“Everything went well on that trip,” he said.

Flaggs said his discussions with other mayors at the African-American Mayors Conference indicated “that we all are facing the same challenges, whether it’s a large city, medium city or small city — crime, gun violence and infrastructure — and we’re trying to get some funding equity into small towns or small cities.”

Besides the conference and the discussions on rail traffic, Flaggs had the opportunity to go to Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence for a reception.

“I thought she did a phenomenal job on making the case for the future of America,” he said.

“All in all, it (the trip) went great,” Flaggs said. “It gave me an opportunity to network and at the same time build relationships with people all across this country, big cities, small cities and midtown cities.”

He added he “walked away with a wealth of knowledge” of what other cities are doing to meet the same challenges Vicksburg faces, “And I feel good about it. I feel good about our pathway to the future here in Vicksburg.

“Because when you look at small towns across America compared to ours, we’re doing far better with our relationships with our state government and federal government in terms of funding,” he said. “We’re on top of it in terms of funding we got from the state legislature this year. The money we got was almost equal to our budget so we did real good in this community. Sometimes, we take relationships for granted, but they matter. And leadership matters.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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